Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Pharon Square for Mayor of Rochester!

Fellow Americans! God Bless the U.S.A. and the foolproof, rock solid political system! I, Pharon Square, would like to throw my hat into the Rochester, MN mayoral race. I thought I had to be a resident of this fine city for one year before running. And today is officially Day 365.

However, I -- like so many promising young politicians -- failed to do a quick Google search before jumping to my conclusion. In fact, I only needed to be here for 30 DAYS before meeting eligibility requirements. Lucky for you, my fair residents of Mayoville, U.S.A., I will not be deterred!

And now, in this timeless and super official medium of a blog, I would like to present my platform.

As Mayor of Rochester, I think it's time for change! Change, I say! No more should we be bound by the ways of yesteryear. No more should we cower in the face of innovation. I say that today...Today we are Ready for Tomorrow (orrow, orrow)!

Previous thinkers have decided it was perfectly fine to build a fancy hospital in a non-fancy city. A city of chain restaurants and multiple yarn stores. A city where, if you block out the hospital and the various high-end luxury vehicles, you would feel as though you were living in the bustling age of the 1980s.

I, my dear Rochesterians, feel that we deserve more! We deserve a place to eat where the salads are as delicious (and plentiful) as the cheese curds; where there is more than one radio station to listen to; where the lakes and natural habitats are not surrounded by violent geese or rabid owls.

And it's time to prove ourselves! Newt's keeps saying they have the best burgers in the city....wonderful, right? Well, there is no competition! Not one Nook, Blue Door, Matt's, 5-8 or Red Cow for miles! (Outsiders, those are all INCREDIBLY good places for burgers in Minneapolis.) And where will I buy your birthday present? Francesca's, because there are zero other cute, fun stores with clever and affordable gifts in sight.

After my one long year in this city, I know that there is much to be saved here. Sure, there are still people picketing at the Planned Parenthood and refusing to use blinkers when driving. But! There is a very real and earnest desire to be better!

Now, there are, by my count, 100 schools and 10 zillion playgrounds around. I'm sure some people think those things are important, but I don't. And also, a new restaurant WAS just built near my house, but it was another McDonald's.  There are now 3 McDonald's within 3 miles of me. What does that say to the children of these fancy Mayo doctors who are randomly obsessed with kale and chia seeds?

In my bid for Mayor, I plan to force everyone to try and be better...cooler...more like the awesome folks in Minneapolis. Open up new restaurants with fresh ingredients and exciting menus. Try out some hair salons that are not named with puns and offer a glass of wine with a post-work cut. Try and build a venue that attracts better acts than Coolio. Make public parking downtown NOT be a nightmare and allow non-Mayo peeps to park in parking lots whenever they want. While we're at it, let's stop making Mayo employees' spouses drive them to and from work by building better ramps! (Really, people, let's just try and bring the parking situation into the 21st century.)

This is the time, people! The time to rise up and demand more from a city built on a history of being the best and attracting the brightest! Let's not just pool all our resources into Mayo! Let's build a city that we can ALL enjoy!!

We have a lot of potential, Rochesterians. And while I really have zero desire to be here for another full year, I know that I could really turn this town into a place I wouldn't mind getting stranded in when I'm driving between Minnesota and Iowa. A vote cast for Pharon Square is a vote cast for a quick and dirty fix! Who doesn't want that?!

So, what say you, fellow voters? Are you with me?

Thursday, September 25, 2014

How to Be a Grown-up: Event Edition

This has been a very exciting year...for my friends. I've been to, oh, 65 weddings, 329 baby showers and 997 bridal showers. Don't check my math, jerks.

I was thinking about this today as I stood in my Spanx and latest bridesmaids dress at the tailor (getting 4 feet chopped from the bottom of my third long chiffon dress of the year) and mentally reminded myself to pick up a gift bag for a baby shower I'm going to this weekend.

So, at this point, I'm 100% sure I should be the final word on what TO do and what NOT to do at these events. To save you the trouble of Googling "manners at grown-up events," I’ll give you some pointers of how to be the best guest at these events.

Bridal Showers:
Do: Bring a gift. That's what it's all about, folks.
Do: Wear a dress. It’s probably a hassle or uncomfortable, but any event with “shower” in the name implies you should look nice (and have taken a shower.)
Do: Mingle. You probs won't know tons of people there, so chat up the person closest to the finger sandwiches, and then you can get fat while you chat.
Don't: Get drunk. Well, okay, maybe you can…sometimes it’s tricky to know what kind of shower it is. But you should be able to tell if it’s okay based on how many bottles of bubbly and/or tequila are on hand.
Don’t: Be a buzzkill. Play the games, lady. There are almost ALWAYS prizes.
Don’t: Be rude. Thank the hostess, say nice things about the Guest of Honor and try to not burp or make poop jokes. (Note: See exception in Baby Shower section.)

Baby Showers:
Do: Bring a gift. That’s what it’s all about, folks.
Do: Wear a dress. (Sorry, ANY event involving a bunch of ladies on a weekend morning requires semi-formalwear.)
Do: Compliment everyone. Pregnant women, non-pregnant women, potentially-pregnant women and already-been-pregnant women all together in one room talking about babies means one thing: carazy hormones. Tread lightly and speak sweetly. TO EVERYONE.
Don’t: Say ANYthing scary about labor.
Don’t: Make the Guest of Honor feel bad about truly believing that she will love having a baby wipe warmer.
Don’t: Hold back on baby poop jokes. For Pete’s sake, the Guest of Honor is getting diapers, wipes and (inexplicably) a heated wipe dispenser. Everyone knows what’s up.

Do: Bring a gift. That’s what it’s all about, folks.
Do: Wear a dress. Ugh. I know. So many dresses…
Do: Listen to speeches, sign the guest book, enjoy the beautiful centerpieces, take a favor and get out on the dance floor. (These are just basic fundamentals of being a good wedding guest, so it all goes together.)
Don’t: Spill ANYTHING on the bride.
Don’t: Feel bad about getting drunk. Weddings are the only time some people CAN get drunk. Just don’t get sloppy and puke. Especially on the bride.
Don’t: Take your shoes off on the dance floor. It goes against nature, I know: I used to do this. But it only took one time of dancing to “Shout!” barefoot and a broken toe to change my tune.

These are really only the basics. (Oh, and really they are more directed at women because dudes often get to skip out on at least 2/3 of these events.) You’re gonna have to pay me to hear the rest, because my insight is THAT VALUABLE, and I have a TON more etiquette guidelines.

Also, I simply don’t have any more time to help you. I have baby showers, a bridal shower AND a wedding all in the next month that I need to start buying dresses for.

Do you have any foolproof pointers of your own for these events? Feel free to slap ‘em down there in the comments. Trust me, people need all the help they can get.

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

I'll Be Hair For You

I've been waiting my entire life for this, you guys. A lifetime of bowl cuts, ill-advised bangs, ineffective curling irons, split ends, fantastic shampoos, generic shampoos...I've spent years and probably hundreds of thousands of dollars on trying to do something with my hair. I've grown it out, chopped it off, colored it, stripped it...all in an effort to make my hair look even remotely fabulous.

It never worked. Nothing ever worked, because I have approx 10 strands of hair.

Until today. Today my life has been forever changed and I am officially a better person than you are now.

Because today, a package came. Probably from heaven. And inside the package was this life-changing miracle:


I got obsessed with this product after yet another evening of watching too many infomercials. In this one, Daisy Fuentes and her pretty pals all have this fantastic hair and then they whip half of it out and voila! You see it's all thanks to Secret Extensions.

See, Secret Extensions involve, basically, a hair headband. The top half has no hair on it, but the bottom has all this real (looking) hair that pumps up any 'do. It's easy to put on, easy to take off, and guaranteed to make your hair look better than ever. I figured "Hey, Hip Hop Abs was surprisingly fun....why not go for broke?" So I did it. I ordered fake hair through the mail and just received it. I couldn't WAIT to try out my new life.

Here's the disgusting and entirely unimpressive Before:

Look at that heinously limp and sad hair!!!! PUKE! Now, let's slip on my Secret Extensions!

Oh, sorry, hold on. Garnier Fructis is calling me asking me how EVER did I get my hair to be so full and fabulous.

I don't care if you don't see the difference (which is what Geo has tried to argue). There is roughly 50% more hair tumbling down my shoulders. Here's the proof:

I love it. I love everything about having some strange hair from God-knows-where making my ponytail fatter and BETTER. I seriously LOVE Secret Extensions.

But...it didn't take more than 4 minutes of admiration before the true potential of this product hit me. Then these happened:

And then came some hilarious practical jokes:

 Shhh! I'm sleeping!!! PSYCH! I'm taking the picture!!

Waiter? There's a hair in my salad...

All in all, I had more fun with my fake hair in one night than I've probably ever had with all my hair products I've ever owned rolled together. And I've barely used it for it's intended purposes yet.

The only thing I have a little bit of issue with is that these extensions were made for adults. I have a toddler-sized head, so they're a tiny bit ill-fitting. But I figure that's a small price to pay for having the gift of thick, luxurious and fabulous hair. Oh, also, the hair DOES kind of fall out if you do stuff like make disguises with it.

I highly recommend this product. I plan on ordering another one that is a totally different color, actually, so I can change my hair to fit my look of the day. All told, these cost about $40-50, but if that's the price I pay to avoid knotting real extensions into my scalp, I'm  good with that.

Anyway, I'm pretty psyched that I actually bought something that delivered not only what it promised, but what I had been desperately hoping for. It's simple, it's effective. It's the Spanx of hair!

Now, when someone makes Secret 6-Pack Abs and Tiny Thighs, I'll be SUPER impressed.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

Video Lames

I don't know the last time I woke up at 4 a.m. I remember the last time I went to BED at 4, but never has it been an hour at which I rise from slumber. It's stupid; it's insane; it's exactly what Geo did this morning. See, apparently a video game came out at midnight, called Destiny, and Geo got up before work to download it and play with his four XBox One-having friends. It's pathetic, right?

I was thinking about how dedicated these guys are to these video games. I mean, sure, I woke up and Skyped with my mom and sister to watch the Royal Wedding before dawn, but that was an HISTORIC event. Waking up early to play a video game is pretty much nonsense.

But he did it, and I did have a few brief moments before I raged against the machine that is Morning to think about my relationship with video games. It's been a tawdry affair, filled with weeks-long infatuation followed immediately by casual dismissal. 

It started with Nintendo. I played LOTS of Nintendo. Duck Hunt? Check. Super Mario Bros? Check. Other games I can't remember? Probably check.

But my true love was with Sega. I spent hours playing the Olympics and Sonic the Hedgehog with my brother Perek. We'd even make up lyrics to the instrumental songs on each level of Sonic. (That's right, LYRICS. A sample includes: "Must have been some magic in that old black haaaaat they found..." Shut up. It was musical genius.) I had as much fun WATCHING someone play as I did I playing. 

Then I never played video games because I was very cool and popular. (Also: No one invited me.) When Dance Central came out on the XBox, I thought life finally made sense because my worlds collided; dancing and scoring points hit all the right proverbial buttons for me. But no one wanted to play with me because, and I don't mean to brag but it must be said, I spent hours practicing the dance moves and got super good. (Oh, maybe I shouldn't brag about that?) Then I was just a grown-a$$ white woman dancing along to songs from the 70s in my living room while everyone else was being adults.

I had a brief and violent affair with Grand Theft Auto last year, and I remember Geo saying "Wow, so this is what it's like to have a video game compulsion...." I stopped because he moved the XBox downstairs and I can't be bothered to use stairs. 

So when I saw Geo playing his new game seconds after he took his tie and work pants off when he got home tonight, I sort of understood, but I also sort of thought that he is a loser. 

Here's the thing that no man/gamer will ever admit: Every single game that they love these days is exactly the same. Halo is the same as Battlefield, which is the same as Destiny (even though Destiny DOES have dance moves). It's all just shooting guns and then humping some stranger's head after you kill them. Snooze. At least I had VARIETY in my gaming obsessions. Perfecting diving techniques in the Olympics game was completely different from Sonic, and SUPER different from the sick moves in Dance Central.

Anyway, my point is that people are far too obsessed with video games, and as much as I have tried, I can't seem to muster enough interest in the hobby. What good is it to get so invested in some crazy fantasy world? Now, leave me alone because the rest of my night is dedicated to the Sons of Anarchy season premiere. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Pharon Square to nude photo leakers: Not Cool

You know what I love? Celebrity gossip. You know what I DON'T love? Gross invasions of privacy. To me, the line between the two is quite well-defined. Do/say something in public when there are photographers around? Fair game. Having your private, behind-closed-doors stuff taken and posted online? Uncool, bro. Super uncool. And? Also? Worthy of pressing criminal charges.

And then I read about the people who dumped a bunch of personal, private photos of celebs online and I felt super disappointed in humankind.

Now, I like celebrity news as much as the next guy; in fact, I LOVE it. But I’m a fickle fan. See, I hate obvious fame-whores (read: any and everything Kardashian); and I have absolutely no interest in rumors spread by "unnamed sources" that put the marriages, parenting skills, dating life and private fertility issues in the spotlight, usually without any merit whatsoever. NO THANKS. That’s REAL LIFE, people, and you just don’t mess with that.

Now, I WILL read interviews and stories about who stepped out with whom at Ivy and think, "Hmmm, they are probs dating." Am I making the problem worse? I really, super hope not.

I feel like kids, private information, personal photos, weddings (where paparazzi are NOT invited), births, medical issues and other similar areas are NOT MY BUSINESS. I think that celebs should try and prepare for their picture to be taken in public, but I don't think their safety and privacy are any less important than mine. 

I think the fact that I can make that distinction is why I can tell myself that I am not part of the problem that created this insatiable appetite for celebrity pics at any cost. 

I read this comment on Reddit today in response to the leaked photos, and one regular human said something like "Somewhere, there is a 24-year-old woman crying because the entire world has seen her naked," and it really struck a nerve. 

I imagined what would happen if I were the one seeing private pictures of myself online that were put there without my permission. I thought about the time I took a picture of a bruise on my thigh because it was so gross...the bruise AND the thigh. I thought about the time I took a silly picture of me with my blankie wrapped around my face and sent it to Geo in Alabama and wrote "Blankie monster."

I’m guessing the reason that I can grasp on to the ridiculous notion that my personal communication devices are in any way private stems from the fact that no one on the planet cares about my bruised thigh. But when we encourage or ignore the fact that hacking/public release of private photos totally happens to people ALL THE TIME if they are famous is really not making the situation any better for any of us.

I realize this isn't my typical post; I know it’s not funny or sarcastic or anything I usually write about. But because I am a consumer of entertainment and fawn over famous people, I feel like it’s necessary for me to draw my line in the sand and say that stealing from or violating the basic expectations of privacy from people is definitely wrong and not something I will ever support. I hope you’ll all agree.